Langlois Market Is Just the Beginning

April, 2015
Innovation and diversified business portfolios aren’t only for urban business owners. Rural business owners have to seize opportunities and hedge their risks by offering top notch service in not one, but many, businesses. Earlier this year we spoke with 100 entrepreneurs in southwest Oregon and met Jake Pestana, the owner of Langlois Market, located in Langlois, an unincorporated community in Curry County. Jake and his family are a true entrepreneurial success story. Jake owns not one business, but partners with his brother, Joe Pestana, and parents, Leland Pestana and Sue Sweet, and uncle, Coos County Commissioner John Sweet, to run five other businesses.
Jake and Joe help their parents run Sweet Ranch Cranberries. Joe manages the family ranch with his uncle, and he also owns OregonGrassfed, a provider of grass-fed beef products. Recently, Jake bought the Greasy Spoon Café, a small restaurant located a short distance down the street from Langlois Market, and after renovating the restaurant, he reopened its doors in March. The Greasy Spoon Café specializes in serving local foods, which supports other Curry County businesses. Supporting other local businesses is very important to Jake, “The more we can support local businesses, the better. Small communities do best when their businesses work together, and our great partners make it very easy for us to offer high quality local produce and meats.” (See the side bar for the complete list of local producers filling the restaurant’s plates.)
Jake cut his teeth in business when he was a kid stocking shelves for his father at Langlois Market. After graduating high school, he earned two degrees in business from Portland University and furthered his business acumen by managing multiple restaurants for Outback Steakhouse. Long hours, and a desire to achieve more, led Jake to realize that he would rather work for himself. His next step was to speak to his father about taking over Langlois Market. In 2008, Jake officially took the reins of the market and joined his brother in owning a Curry County business. You’d think that running the only grocery store in Langlois would have kept Jake too busy to take on other ventures. However, according to Jake, two heads are better than one, and before long, Jake and Joe began seeing ways to expand their operations.
One of their first endeavors was CostPro Direct, a delivery service formerly run by Costco. Jake’s experience with retail and Joe’s experience with food production gave them a good understanding of managing shipments, so when they heard Costco was canceling its delivery service to Curry County, they stepped in to fill the gap. Admittedly, they’ve had a little bit of trouble balancing the need to make a profit with providing prices everyone in the community can afford. “We’ve been operating the delivery service at a loss for a few years,” Jake shared, “and we’re recognizing that the only way we can keep the service in operation is to make some changes.” Whether those changes are in the price or in what they’ll deliver, Jake couldn’t say just yet. Making difficult decisions is a part of every business, but difficult decisions won’t deter Jake and Joe from new ventures.
To keep up with Jake and Joe, check out Langlois Market’s website. You’ll see that, along with knowing a heck of a lot about how to create successful rural businesses, they know a good deal about beer and hotdogs as well.
Stay tuned for more articles about rural entrepreneurs. Rural entrepreneurs are doing amazing work for their communities and the Pacific Northwest, and we will be spotlighting some of them here.